Right to a Refund

Discussion in 'Ecommerce Forum' started by quikshop, Apr 25, 2019.

  1. scm5436

    scm5436 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Indeed. So it really depends on the product - some will obviously never be displayed, some will almost always be displayed and others somewhere in between. For the ones in between I assume if it ever went to court they would just try to make an assumption as to whether or not it would be reasonable to expect a shop to have the item on display.

    Then of course there is a difference between "out of the box and on display", and "plugged in and running". Again it depends on the product. So a laptop - yes, on display, plugged in and running. A new Intel CPU - heck no, boxed and sealed. An air purifier...? That's a tough one. Would you expect that to be on display and running in a shop? Or is it such a simple device that they'd just have a stack of boxes on the shelf?

    I have to say that, unless it was on some special deal or there was something particularly clever/unique about it, I wouldn't expect it to be out of the box and on display. I mean it's basically a fan with a filter on, not exactly rocket science - do people really need to see it in action to make a buying decision...?
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: scm5436 Member since: Nov 22, 2007
  2. alan1302

    alan1302 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Which I would expect to be able to do with a product like this.
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: alan1302 Member since: Jun 2, 2018
  3. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Yes depends on the product if the law specifies that.

    It does allow for some specific non returns for change of mind.

    Fan with filter? Would need to hear it. And feel the effect of the fan.
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  4. billybob99

    billybob99 UKBF Regular Free Member

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    There are all sorts of special people in the world.
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: billybob99 Member since: Apr 23, 2013
  5. paulears

    paulears UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    Is there also a contamination issue on this? If you plugged it in to see if it could remove say, cannabis particles in the air, then when you return it contaminated, is that filter not only fit for the bin? I don't think I'd like to buy a product that contained a second hand filter - so would they not need to replace it before selling it again? Earrings, underwear and the items get excluded from refunds - they could argue this device, by virtue of how it works needs to be sterile/clean. I don't think refunds on some things should be 100%
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: paulears Member since: Jan 7, 2015
  6. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Should all filters be brand new?
    If I buy a new car from a garage can I insist they replace all filters? Or is it only household appliances?
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  7. Alan

    Alan UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

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    Thats why retailers have a markup - to cover their costs, which include many things, such as premises, staff costs and manny others like stock shrinkage ( theft ) to having to give refunds and then having to sell as 'shop soiled'.
    Posted: Apr 30, 2019 By: Alan Member since: Aug 16, 2011

    MY OFFICE IN CHINA UKBF Big Shot Full Member

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    What is the value of the 20% you’re arguing over?

    If a filter has been opened and presume this was in a sealed poly bag, then as @paulears has stated, this is a valid reason to allow for the deduction due to it not being ‘sterile’ for return purposes and would need to be replaced before selling on.
    Posted: May 1, 2019 By: MY OFFICE IN CHINA Member since: Nov 16, 2011
  9. Newchodge

    Newchodge UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    Or, if you have the sense you were born with, you ask a member of staff to demonstrate it for you.
    Posted: May 1, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
  10. scm5436

    scm5436 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    Maybe we frequent different types of shops. I'm thinking of the last 5 shops I visited. Some of them had a few selected products on display, the rest didn't. I don't think any of those shops would realistically have open a sealed box of a product that wasn't on display just so I could see how it worked. Because if I didn't subsequently buy it, because I'm some kind of box opening time waster, then they'd have a product with an open box which no-one would want to buy (who would trust an open box on a retail shelf?)

    Sure there are some shops that are based on a "demo" model - like curry's or pc world - but there are also a lot of shops that are based on a "stack stuff on the shelf in boxes and let people either buy it or not buy it". So again it comes around to what type of product it is and what sort of shop is likely to sell it (and if that sort of shop would demo it by default, or demo it on demand).

    But that's not how prices work in the real world, not since the internet. Now some idiot selling stuff out of their kitchen sells for a stupidly low price to get some sales, and everyone else has to cut their prices or nobody buys from them. So yes, they still have to pay for shrinkage and returns but there is less profit to cover it, so they are more likely to be stricter over the conditions of the return. Especially if they think the customer is being unreasonable (like ripping it out of the packaging, then sending it back as "too big" when the website gave the exact dimensions and warned that it was "really big" in the description). Sure, you may say retailers inability to properly price their products is their problem, not consumers. But it kind of is consumers problem when the retailers all start hardening their returns policies to compensate...

    Let's be realistic for a moment. Under the old distance selling regs you could buy a product, throw away the packaging, and send it back in a shoe box and the retailer would have to give you a 100% refund. Now, they can start making deductions if you tear the box a bit while opening it, or if you examine it a little more than you needed. Do you think that change was because of small independent retailers kicking up a fuss? Or do you think the big boys came along and said "what the hell, we're not putting up with this" and put some pressure on... There may still be a few of the very big brands who will offer full refunds however much the customer is taking the micky, but more and more will just "take a view" (are you a regular, how much profit was there on this product, are you likely to ever come back even if you get a full refund, and have you behaved reasonably), and a lot of the smaller ones will just say "no".

    But at the end of the day it comes down to "would you reasonably expect to see this product in action in a shop", and if that's not clear then the answer on whether or not the retail can withhold part of the refund is not clear. So it's disputed. If neither party is going to budge then you have a few options:

    1) Stop arguing and just keep the stupid fan, or sell it on ebay
    2) Send it back, take the deduction, and learn a lesson - most online companies terms and conditions will include the very same deduction clause (whether the retailer intends to use it or not)
    3) Do a chargeback via your card company, but be aware that the card company allows the retailer the right to put their case forward and the chargeback may very well be rejected when the retailer presents them with the facts.
    4) Get trading standards involved, but again be aware that they may side with the retailer once the retailer starts quoting the comumer regs at them
    5) Go to the small claims court (now called something else I think), but again be aware that they may side with the retailer once the retailer starts quoting the comumer regs at them

    If the retailer stands firm (and we would if we were them) then it just depends how far you want to go, and if it's worth it for the 20% of whatever the price was...

    Over many many years and 10's thousands of customers, we've had a handful of disputes where we've refused a refund because we believed the customer behaved unreasonably (usually we refund because it's just good business, but some customers really do take the mick). One went to small claims court - they lost. A couple went to trading standards - we set them straight on the regulations and never heard from them again, and a couple of chargebacks - which the card companies rejected after we explained the facts and the regulations. So 3, 4 and 5 aren't guaranteed.

    Also, as several people have pointed out - if the filter you installed was sealed and you unsealed it then potentially the retailer to tell you to stick your refund altogether due to section 28.3 -

    (a) in the case of a contract for the supply of sealed goods which are not suitable for return due to health protection or hygiene reasons, if they become unsealed after delivery;

    Posted: May 1, 2019 By: scm5436 Member since: Nov 22, 2007
  11. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend Free Member

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    Posted: May 1, 2019 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
  12. quikshop

    quikshop UKBF Big Shot Free Member

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    Well the latest on this; Trading Standards believe on balance (suitably vague) the retailer is in breach of their obligations under the Distance Selling Regulations.

    I'm going to try a couple of other avenues of enquiry, I don't really want to go down the legal route for the sake of not losing £99 retained deposit but if I make progress or it's determined that the retailer are within their rights I'll post it here.
    Posted: May 3, 2019 By: quikshop Member since: Oct 11, 2006
  13. scm5436

    scm5436 UKBF Enthusiast Free Member

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    It will be interesting to see how it turns out - especially if the merchant fights it.

    Bit confused about the "retained deposit" though. Do you mean you paid £99 for the item (so payment, not deposit)? Or did you put a deposit down (bit weird for online purchase)? And isn't it only £20 at stake if they are only withholding 20%...? or was the product price more than £99?
    Posted: May 3, 2019 By: scm5436 Member since: Nov 22, 2007